Today you can turn your ovens off, as this recipe requires no baking. I thought I would go over one of my favorite healthy granola bar recipes with you, dark chocolate, double almond granola bars. These are my go to snack and sometimes breakfast option. I was getting ready to head down to the beach with my husband this past weekend, a short vacation that I planned for his birthday, when I began thinking what snacks to make that would be easy to travel with. I immediately came to the conclusion that I had to make these healthy granola bars. The decision was made easier by the fact that I often make these for breakfast, or a mid-morning snack. Also, the hotel we were staying at had a mini fridge, and these bars can last over 14 days refrigerated! By the end of the weekend I found a whole other purpose to these bars, which is they are great for a late night snack after returning from the bars. Although, my husband still thought pizza was the better
Let’s talk oats for a little bit. Oats in their general form are usually gluten free as they are per their name an oat, not a wheat, rye, barley or grain. The issue that can arise would be if they were grown, manufactured, and packaged in an area that contains gluten products. One simple way to avoid this is buying oats that are labeled ‘gluten free’. There are 3 general types of oats, which are steel cut, instant, and rolled oats. For this recipe we are going to use rolled oats. If you only have instant then you are able to use them instead, however the finished product might be a little softer. My last reason (for now) for being an advocate for oats is that they are considered a super-food. They contain an antioxidant called avenanthramides, which helps fight free radicals.
This recipe also calls for 2 sources of almonds, which are almond slices and almond butter. There is roughly 24 grams of protein in 1 cup of sliced almonds, and 20 grams of protein in ½ cup of almond butter. If using peanut butter, then ½ cup contains roughly 30 grams of protein. I think you are getting the point… these bars pack a protein punch.
I also use dark chocolate in these bars, as opposed to semi sweet or milk chocolate. Dark chocolate is a much healthier option in my opinion. I know it is still ‘chocolate’ and has a large serving of sugar, but the way I see it, it’s the lesser of two evils. Let’s face it, we deserve some tasty chocolate in our lives. The silver lining is that dark chocolate is also a superfood that contains flavonoids, which is another antioxidant that fights free radicals.
With this recipe you will take ½ cup peanut butter and ½ cup almond butter, and warm them together on the stove top with the dark chocolate and vanilla. The addition of peanut butter keeps the texture creamy, whereas using 1 whole cup of almond butter would be healthier, but cause a drier, almost flaky result. If you use all almond butter you will have a hard time getting this to spread all over the oats and nuts. The chips for this recipe are melted in to complement the nuts, rather than kept on top in solid form.
Info for this recipe:
– These bars do not require baking and will should immediately be placed in the refrigerator to harden.
– The pan should be lined with aluminum foil and sprayed for easiest pressing, storing and cutting.
– The bars need to harden completely before they are cut.
– The bars work best if you heat the peanut butter and almond butter before adding them to the dry ingredients. This will allow the nuts and oats to be completely coated.